Apple has a new trial date in the damages phase of its e-book price-fixing case, but already that date may be in doubt. On April 25, the Second Circuit issued a temporary administrative stay to enable a three-judge panel to review Judge Denise Cote’s recent decision to proceed with class notification and trial.
Apple’s reprieve comes after Cote last week denied Apple’s request for a stay of all proceedings pending various appeals, including appeals of two key rulings against Apple last month.
Apple attorneys want the Second Circuit to review Cote's rejections, insisting that a stay should be granted because, if Apple prevails on either its appeal of Cote's July 10 verdict in its liability trial, or on its forthcoming appeal from class certification, “the entire landscape of this litigation will radically change, and the damages phase ordered by this Court will be mooted or require a retrial.”
Apple also argues that class notification should be stayed, because, if Apple prevails on appeal, the harm would be acute. "Given that plaintiffs seek to notify millions of current or prospective Apple customers that they may have been subjected to a price-fixing scheme," Apple attorneys argue, "Apple’s reputation would be damaged by this class notice in a way that cannot be repaired."
It is unclear how long it will take for the Second Circuit to review Apple’s emergency stay motion. In January, the Second Circuit issued a similar administrative stay while it reviewed Cote’s rejection of Apple’s request to postpone the work of its court-ordered external monitor pending appeal. Less than three weeks later, on February 10, the stay was lifted as the Second Circuit upheld Cote’s decision.